What skills should a Freelance Content Writer possess?
Thanks to the internet, a person can now work for and get paid by someone else who is thousands of miles away. This freedom of working from anywhere around the globe has been made possible by the world of Freelance writing. Over the last couple of years, the writing business has become more and more demanding, requiring more skills from the freelancers than just writing. This is so because there is a lot of competition and the search for quality is the only factor that is on top of every editor’s priority list. So apart from writing, here are some other skills a freelancer needs to have in order to remain relevant in the writing business.
1. Content Writers Should Have a solid understanding of SEO
Anyone can write anything if given a topic to write on. However, since many companies depend on the internet for lead and traffic generation, it is wise to optimize your writing skills for organic searches. SEO, in layman terms, can be described as having your website or articles appear on the first pages when a person searches for information related to what you offer. There might be hundreds, if not thousands or even millions of other websites that offer the same services as you and so you are all competing to appear on the top pages of a Google search. The only way this is possible is through search engine optimization.
There are a number of ways one can help build upon their SEO skills, our best methods are;
- Have the relevant keywords – If at all you are going to be posting content on your website, at least let Google notice your efforts. Take your time and notice what keywords people use when searching for your products or services and use them. Make sure that the keywords also appear naturally and are not forced. Remember that too much keyword clouding can also result in being penalized. You can download Keywords Everywhere, a chrome extension to help you with your search. You may also use Google Keyword Planner to analyze the search terms. The tool reveals the popularity and competition of your keywords.
- Write for a human, not machine –One major thing many people fail to understand is that they are writing for humans to read their work. A certain tone of writing and flow is necessary. Do not just dump words anyhow and expect that people can decipher what you are writing. Keyword stuffing is frowned upon by Google. Aim to help the readers. The ultimate goal of your content must be to solve the problems of your valued customers and demonstrate your expertise. If you are always writing with the goal of promoting your products and services, you will not be able to resonate with your customers. The golden rule is to create 8o% of your content to educate, engage and entertain your audience, only 20% of your content should be promotional. Put yourself in your client’s shoe, before you start writing. Think of possible questions your customers could have. Then craft your content to provide answers, your customers are looking for. Establish yourself as an industry expert. Once your customers begin to seek your advice on their problems, they will trust you enough to buy your services and products.
- Use headings to have your work easily scannable – if you write using relevant subtitles and titles in your work, readers can easily trace the information they are looking for and will not have to struggle so much. This will improve the traffic to your work and Google will rank you much higher in the search engines.
2. Freelance Content Writers Must Demonstrate Strong Research Skills
Your work gains more credibility if more information is added which is actually true and not just made up. This will prompt you to improve your research skills. If you have tasked to write on a particular topic, do not just jump right into the work-not unless you have got everything crammed up in your mind. First, conduct extensive research and refer to more than just one source. Furthermore, ensure that the source you are using is credible enough to offer true information.
3. Create Unique Content
This might sound a little bit cliché but this is still one of the most important skills editors look for in freelance writers. The concept of being unique is just being original, in other words. Never copy what other people have done or are doing on the internet. Use your own creativity to come up with a unique writing formula or format and stick with it. If you must refer to other sources or avenues, then either credit the work to them or better still, write everything in your own unique way.
If you copy content from another website, it will only be a matter of time before Google notices it and you may get penalized. Furthermore, your site will hardly be found through organic searches. Plagiarized content does not only mean you will be penalized by Google but it also has legal repercussions.
A good writer should be flexible and versatile in their writing career. You should be able to ask yourself one major question; am I able to change my style of writing from one article to another? There are two major writing techniques; formal or informal (casual). As a good writer, you should be able to change your tone of writing depending on the type of job you are working on.
If you are working on an informal piece of writing, you are free to use a conversational tone in order to be more engaging with your readers. However, formal writing has its own set of rules which must be adhered to. Always get the difference between the two before beginning work on a project. Be cautious also to note where the distinction between the two crosses.
5. Professional Content Writers Must Always Meet The Deadlines
Every writer’s fear is always whether they will meet the deadline or not. Always try to set aside time where you will be handling your work and avoid going past the deadline on one too many occasions. If you have a problem with speed, you can always try to improve on it over time. Get some help from the internet on how to improve your writing speeds and practice from time to time. If you think you may not send the work within the stipulated time, ensure you let your employer or editor know so in advance.
As a freelance writer, you have just noticed that it is not just writing which is required of you. Many other requirements are needed for you in order to keep a nice record with your employers. Freelancers in Dubai must Follow these simple rules and keep learning to reap better from freelance writing. If you can think of more strategies to become a better freelancer, feel free to share them with us in the comments below. If you have not signed up as a freelancer in the UAE, then do so now. Sign up Here!